OrganizationLocal affiliate of an International Pharmaceutical company
Description of the PositionIn the search for novel target areas involved in brain plasticity, the Neuroscience team is pursuing several unbiased phenotypic approaches. As previous studies have shown that rodent brain plasticity and cognitive function increase when animals are kept in an enriched environment, a gene expression analysis study was performed to investigate changes in expression upon enrichment. Hence, the team has conducted an in vivo animal study in which rodents were kept in their standard cage environment or in an environment enriched with toys, running wheels, extra bedding etc, after which both hippocampus and prefrontal cortex were dissected and processed, and array analysis performed. The effect of time of enrichment was investigated and gene pathway analyses performed.
As a follow-up, careful evaluation of individual genes that are up or downregulated due to the enrichment, or pathways that seem to be affected, needs to be carried out. Goal of the evaluation is whether any of the changed expression profiles may represent novel targets or mechanisms for the enhancement of brain plasticity. Successful potentiation or recovery of plasticity is a promising approach for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease or other neurodegenerative diseases.
For all this, both a good neurobiological background is needed but also a good understanding of the bioinformatical processing of the data set. As, for example, around 2,500 genes are changed in the hippocampal area alone, this becomes a very complex and time-consuming task. In addition, follow-up experiments, either to confirm the changes using RT-PCR, or to confirm changes at protein level should be done. Additional gene expression experiments (for example single-cell sequencing) in the scope of environmental enrichment should be proposed and if time allows acted on. We foresee 1 year to work on this challenging and interesting project.
Demands of the Position- Candidates should be PhD level scientists that have a good neurobiological or neurophysiological background, and that enjoy exploring and following-up on scientific curiosity.
- The candidate should in addition ideally have some bioinformatics knowledge.
- No prior industry work experience is required.
- The candidate will need to work in close collaboration with colleagues within the Neuroscience department as well as outside the group concerning data analysis (mathematics, bioinformatics).
- Interpersonal skills
- good command of speaking and writing of country languages and English, ability to communicate effectively with investigational site staff, team members and functional manager.
- Positive attitude, enthusiastic and motivated.
- Team-working – proactive contribution to local team activities